On Signing Chris Young: Here’s My Two Cents Worth

Had I published my reaction yesterday, I assure you, this would have read very differently.  But after 24 hours of deliberation, I’m finally at peace with Sandy Alderson’s decision to sign free agent outfielder Chris Young.

After struggling mightily for several years, and finally getting back into a position to spend on free agents, I initially found the Mets signing of Chris Young deflating, and worse, impotent.  My mind immediately flashed back to Shawn Green, then to Xavier Nady (whom I liked a lot), then to Ryan Church, and on through the long list of inconsequential players who have manned right field since.  And yes, you may even include the most recent corner outfield carpetbaggers, Marlon Byrd and Scott Hairston.  They have all been the same to me.  None ever provided the Mets with a viable long term solution, as no one player ever stood out from the other.

Sep 14, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Chris Young (25) reacts in the dugout before the baseball game against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

I ordinarily do not care much what players earn on one year deals.  It’s the lengthy, prohibitive deals that I find problematic.  I will admit however, Young’s $7.25 million dollar price tag struck me like a brick to the head, but I slept on it, and the lump has since subsided.

The free agent market is beginning to speak for itself, and may prove this to be a prudent deal yet.  Both Nelson Cruz and Curtis Granderson turned down qualifying offers twice the amount given to Young from their potentially former clubs in order to become free agents.

Marlon Byrd got 2-years at $16 million (plus a third year vesting option) from Philadelphia, and former Braves catcher Brian McCann most recently signed for an average of $16 million per year with the Yankees, which is also somewhat in the neighborhood of Jhonny Peralta‘s average asking price.

There is certainly success in Young’s past with Arizona, and he still retains an appreciable measure of potential for the immediate future.  Chris Young strikes me as a reasonable and worthy gamble.  Perhaps he will also find greater comfort being back in the National League.

Whether he participates in a platoon remains to be seen.  For now, I’ll assume he is destined for right field.  Should that be the case, the position has been considerably upgraded over last season, with a seasoned MLB player still in his physical prime.  However, in the grand scheme, he is only an incremental improvement, nothing more, with a potentially high upside.

Outside of being a career.235 hitter, if Chris Young can just provide the Mets with his other career averages, this signing could wind up being very price-worthy.  Keeping in mind minor injuries over the last two seasons, for his career, Chris Young averages 35 doubles, 24 home runs, 73 RBI, 81 runs scored, 20 stolen bases, 65 walks, with a .315 OBP.  In 2012, he missed time with a shoulder ailment, and last season he missed a few weeks due to a quad injury.  Young strikes out a ton, but also knows how to draw his share of walks.

The Mets can make this seem like an even better acquisition, cosmetically at least, but only if they bring in another player of considerably greater talent before Spring Training.

Otherwise, to coin a phrase, this is what it is.


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